For the Colts, the key is whether or not their offensive guards can handle the Bengals' defensive tackles one-on-one. If RG Jake Scott and LG Ryan Lilja are able to do that against LDT Bryan Robinson and RDT John Thornton respectively then it will allow Jeff Saturday at center the freedom to get to the second level and seal off middle linebacker Odell Thurman. This will open up some nice holes for Colts running back Edgerrin James and he should easily finish with another 100+ rushing yards day. In pass protection, the Colts offensive guards' ability to handle the defensive tackles one-on-one is also key, because it will then permit Jeff Saturday to drop back and pick up blitzing Bengal linebackers.
The one trench matchup mentioned above I particularly want to focus on today is Scott versus Robinson.
Jake Scott is a tall offensive lineman with solid size potential, but he
currently has a very lean frame and lacks the bulk to consistently hold up inside. His feet and quickness are his greatest strength. He is quick off the snap, shows solid quickness
in-line and gets into defenders quickly. He shows solid lateral mobility and range.
He can slide his feet and protect his edges well against quicker defensive
tackles. However, while Scott is technically sound and plays with solid hand placement in both the run and pass games, his biggest weakness is his overall play strength. The guy sometimes still gets
tossed around by big stronger opponents.
The Bengals front seven is playing fairly well against the run, and it all starts with the big
defensive tackle clogs in the middle. Bryan Robinson and John Thornton are getting good penetration at the line of scrimmage because they're keeping their pad level low. On the ends,
defensive ends Justin Smith and Robert Geathers are sealing the outside with their good leverage and range. This in turn allows
lienbackers Landon Johnson, Odell Thurman and Brian Simmons to read and react without having to take on blockers. So
it's essential that Scott have success blocking Robinson without help. The Colts
can't afford to let the Bengals linebackers roam freely.
Scott will have his hands full with Robinson. The Bengals defensive tackle gets good leverage, uses his hands well, and sheds blocks quickly. He has the ability to knock back blockers at the point of attack and the upper-body strength to maintain separation. He is a beast against the run. Pass defense, however, is not his strength. He lacks mobility, doesn't have a variety of pass-rush moves, and doesn't run line stunts very well. He also lacks explosiveness and closing speed. Its strength over speed for this anchoring DT.
Key Matchup: Jake Scott vs Bryan Robinson
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